A Walk Through the Forest

Mirinda Osmen

Last year’s Chariot Yearbook theme was Rooted in Tradition. As it turns out, the walk to Forest Hills is also well rooted.

The walk to Forest is not a particularly lengthy one; if you walk along the Westside Hall parking lot away from main campus, turn left at the T-intersection, head towards the blue light and follow to the cul-de-sac, you’re there. It takes 5-10 minutes. The difficulty lies in part with the intersection from “Main Campus” to the small street where the residence hall resides- there is no crosswalk- and mostly with the lack of sidewalks on said street.

It’s not that I’m uncomfortable around cars, I frequent automotive racetracks, it’s just that I’m uncomfortable around drivers in this area. As I’m not from the Northeast, I can’t tell you which state thinks the other state produces worse drivers than the other. In any case, it does not matter what state you are from. All I know is that around campus and down Boston Post Road, drivers do some crazy things. Scary things. The streets leading to Forest have no lane dividers and are often dotted with parked cars. This, combined with the “let’s do 45 in a 15!” mentality that so many share, makes me nervous. Especially as there are no sidewalks to distance myself from their driving.

Right as you leave the far corner of Westside, there seems to be some form of sidewalk. Hidden behind a pair of UNH trash and recycling cans, this quasi sidewalk is littered with the roots of three trees. These roots aren’t thick or easily maneuverable. These roots aren’t just near the trees or creating uneven concrete surfaces. These thin, almost sharp roots are woven in an impossible web that yields no spots for flat footing on its dirt backdrop. It’s not a preferred walkway, especially when I’m trying to check my email or send important Snapchats. I fully expect myself to clumsily trip or stumble over these roots this academic year.

That knotty section is where the “sidewalk” ends. Students are then forced to walk on the side of the street. It’s a wide enough street that most cars pass by without any worry. On occasion, parked cars on either side of the street bring moving cars closer than comfortable.

I am fully capable of managing the walk to Forest. However, I am concerned that one day, a driver will not see me or someone else and cause something to happen. I am fully aware that the sidewalk situation is mostly out of U.N.H.’s hands; sidewalks are not mandatory and the walk isn’t on U.N.H. property. I don’t expect sidewalks to be added.

Despite occasional comments about having someone hit me with their car to “pay my tuition,” I sincerely wish to never be in such a situation. I urge drivers to drive smart, drive observant and slow down, especially on and around campus. Please take the extra three seconds to pass me at a reasonable speed. Please make sure you see us pedestrians, whose only option is to walk in the road, and check that we see you too.
Cheers to walking to class or back to my room and never having to talk to anyone!